Homeowners may never actually see termites because they live in the ground or potentially in the walls of the home.
Most of the time, a termite swarm is the only time homeowners actually see termites or find out they have termites before damage is discovered. Mature termite colonies will produce winged reproductive termites that will fly off from the colony in great numbers. This is nature’s way of termites spreading and establishing new colonies. Termite swarms can occur both indoors and outside.
Indoor Termite Swarm
When termites swarm indoors, they will come out of walls or wooden construction (baseboards, door frames, posts, etc.) through small holes. These are called “exit holes” and were created by worker termites. A swarm will last about 30-40 minutes and the swarming termites will fly toward a light source, typically collecting around windows and sliding glass doors. If these termites can not find soil, they will die in a few hours from dehydration. Often homeowners come home from work to find many dead swarmers (or sometimes just their wings) on window sills, counter tops, around furniture, etc. This is the aftermath of a termite swarm.
Tips On Handling A Termite Swarm:
- DON’T panic.
- DON’T spray the swarmers with a can of insect spray. They will die naturally in the air and emptying a can of insect spray is unnecessary.
- DON’T try to seal the exit holes. Swarmers must escape and sealing the holes with tape or other materials will only cause them to make new holes to escape from.
- DO try to contain them. This can be done by shutting the door to the room that they are swarming in. Sometimes, a clear plastic baggie can be attached over the exit hole so the swarmers fly into the bag.
- DO vacuum them up and throw the full bag into the garbage. The swarmers in the bag will die and they can not spread.
- DO save a bag full of insets to show a trained inspector.
- DO call a reputable termite company. A trained inspector will be able to make a positive identification of the type of termite and recommend the best control method to solve the problem.